Trudeau expected to announce Canada seeking UN Security Council seat

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce that Canada will seek a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce that Canada will seek a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Trudeau is in New York on Wednesday for meetings with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The pair met in Ottawa last month and Trudeau had said Canada would seek a two-year term on the council.

It is not clear when Canada could seek such a term, because the slate of candidates in the UN’s Western and European and Others Group is full until at least 2020.

But campaigns for the council typically take years and involve much diplomatic horse-trading, something the previous Harper government considered to be a compromise.

Canada lost its last bid for a seat in 2010 after a string of six terms on the council dating back to the late 1940s.

Trudeau has made re-engaging with the world’s multilateral organizations, the UN being the biggest one, a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

“I highlighted to the secretary general that part of Canada wishing to re-engage robustly with the United Nations and in multilateral engagement around the world includes looking towards a bid for the UN Security Council,” Trudeau said in February.

“We’re looking at a number of windows in the coming years. We are going to evaluate the opportunities for Canada to mount a successful bid.”

Canada was defeated by Portugal for the second of two seats on the council in 2010, which was widely seen as a repudiation of the then-Conservative government’s foreign policy at the time.

The Harper government was criticized at the time for failing to make a strong bid for the seat.

In 2011, then-prime minister Stephen Harper told supporters that Canada would “no longer just go along and get along with everyone else’s agenda. It is no longer to please every dictator with a vote at the United Nations.”

During Canada’s last term of the council in 1999-2000, the Liberals pursued the “human security” agenda of then-foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy. It also began the work that would become the foundation of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine that the UN adopted in 2005.

The R2P, as it was called, set out criteria for when the world could intervene in the affairs of another country to protect its citizens.

The doctrine has been criticized heavily in recent years because the Security Council has not been able to stop the bloodshed in Syria, which marked the fifth anniversary of its civil war on Tuesday

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